TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 27) – The FAMU Men’s Basketball team continued their 2017 Fall Road Warrior Tour in non-conference play last week, with three games in three different states in five days, after a Monday home date.
MONDAY: FAMU 77, ALBANY STATE 59
FAMU (1-7) opened the four-game stretch a week ago, with a 77-59 win over former rival Albany (Ga.) State in the Lawson Center, led by Nasir Core’s 14 points and 12 points from Marcus Barham, with Isaiah Martin and Desmond Williams kicking in eight points each.
WEDNESDAY: NORTH DAKOTA STATE 80, FAMU 66
The Rattlers, who by the end of December will play 14 non-conference road games, returned to the road for a Wednesday night encounter at North Dakota State in Fargo. FAMU came out on the short end of an 80-66 decision, despite a torrid second half, where they matched the home team with 38 points.
The NDSU Bison led, 42-28 at the half, and that ended up the final margin, despite the play FAMU’s Big Three – Barham, Martin and Williams.
Barham finished with a game-high 23 points, along with six rebounds and three assists. Isaiah Martin turned in his second double double of the season, finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Desmond Williams added 12 points, five rebounds and three assists.
FRIDAY: GREEN BAY 57, FAMU 50
Friday night saw FAMU come as close to victory as they had all season, storming to a 31-25 halftime lead over Wisconsin Green Bay, before a second half scoring slump led to a 57-50 loss to the Phoenix.
Junior center Isaiah Martin, who has a hot shooting hand in and around the rim, was a perfect eight-of-eight, leading to his team-high 17 points, to go with eight rebounds and five blocked shots.
Marcus Barham chipped in 10 points and Desmond Williams scored 11 points and pulled down six rebounds on Friday.
SUNDAY: STEPHEN F. AUSTIN 79, FAMU 63
Sunday afternoon, the Rattlers once again flirted with victory holding a 30-29 halftime lead over the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks, before a second half surge led to a 79-63 loss in Nacogdoches, Texas.
The home team caught fire in that second half, shooting a blistering 69 percent from the floor en route to a 50-point performance that allowed them to pull away from FAMU, which scored 33 points over the final twenty minutes Sunday.
Marcus Barham led the Rattlers with a season-high 26 points, cashing in five-of-seven three-pointers, while making three steals and dishing out a pair of assists. Desmond Williams added 14 points, while Nasir Core finished with 11 points and four steals.
THE RATTLERS AT A GLANCE
The challenging early season schedule has not diminished the performances of the Rattler Men’s squad, which has been increasingly more competitive in games as the young season wears on.
Consider the near misses alone last week against North Dakota State, Green Bay and Stephen F. Austin, where the Rattlers either led at halftime, or were within striking distance, and one can sense the group is beginning to jell which could serve them well in their remaining non-conference schedule and into Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play.
FAMU has been led by its’ version of the Big Three: Barham, Williams and Martin.
Senior guard Marcus Barham (16.1 ppg) is eighth in the MEAC in scoring, fifth in free throw percentage (.867), and three-pointers made (19 of 54, .352). He also leads the club in steals (10) and is tied for second in assists (13), scoring a season-high 26 Sunday at Stephen F. Austin, and 23 Wednesday at North Dakota State.
Senior forward Desmond Williams (12.9 ppg, 5.3 rbs), is second in scoring, rebounding, steals (9), and assists (13), while ranking 12th in the MEAC in scoring.
Junior center Isaiah Martin (10.3 ppg, 7.1 rbs), a 7-0 performer, has emerged as a solid third man in the Rattlers’ Big Three, ranking #14 in Division One, and #1 in the MEAC in blocked shots (18); tops the MEAC in field goal percentage (.660); 3rd in Offensive rebounding; 6th in overall rebounding; and 12th in Defensive rebounding in the MEAC.
The Denver, Colorado native has had a pair of double doubles, going for 20 points and 10 boards against UNLV, and scoring 13 points, while plucking 12 rebounds against North Dakota State.
The Rattlers close out the November portion of their Road Warrior Tour this Wednesday night against the University of Texas Longhorns (7:00 p.m. Central Time) in Austin, Texas.
Saturday, FAMU opens the December leg of their non-conference road slate at Murray (Ky.) State (7:00 p.m. ET), before taking a week off for Fall Semester final exams.
RATTLER ROAD WARRIOR TOUR DATES
29 WED. UNIV. OF TEXAS (7:00 CT) AUSTIN, TX
2 SAT. MURRAY STATE (7:00) MURRAY, KY
9 SAT. MERCER (4:00) MACON, GA
11 MON. NORTH FLORIDA (7:00) LAWSON CENTER
14 THU. SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY (6:30) BATON ROUGE, LA
17 SUN. GEORGIA TECH (4:00) ATLANTA, GA
21 THU. FORDHAM UNIVERSITY (7:00) NEW YORK, NY
29 FRI. BALL STATE (7:00) MUNCIE, IN